This is another post in our series of posts on starting an indie pattern company. If you missed the previous posts on our sizing or pattern paper, you can catch up here!
Now let’s talk about pattern instructions… Sometimes you can’t live with them, sometimes you can’t live without them. I don’t claim to be anything resembling an instruction expert because I don’t read pattern instructions. As you can see from my Me Made May pic wearing Simplicity’s 2760 that I didn’t read how to wear my coat right side out and to match the button with the button holes.
Since our patterns are a bit more complex than average, going without instructions a la Marfy was not something we wanted to do. So what to do? Since we were initially inspired by Japanese Lolita street fashion, we wanted heavily illustrated, minimal written instructions like the Japanese sewing books. This would appeal to sewers from all countries as there would be no language barrier or translation issues.
Seriously… what where we thinking? Some of the steps are so tricky we couldn’t even describe them to each other. Most notable is the Sugar Plum steps that enclosed the zipper in the lining all on the sewing machine aka the “3 layer thingy” and the “sew the X part” with some arm flailing gestures.
Numerous versions later, we have what we think is a nice balance of written instructions and illustrations. And I can’t forget to mention that we’ll also do sew-alongs to show all the nitty gritty details and tips we picked up along the way.
To make sure we had enough room to give complete and thorough instructions with detailed illustrations, we had to eliminate something. After much discussion and surveys, we realized that many people do not follow cutting layouts. Removing the cutting layouts provided us with the extra room we needed. But what if you like to follow cutting layouts? Have no fear! We will go over potential cutting layouts during the sew-along. Also, each piece is labeled with how many pieces to cut and we have an additional helpful tool called cutting labels (which we will reveal in another post!) to help you cut out the pattern perfectly.
We were very happy to see that so many of our testers were able to sew together Sugar Plum despite some oopsies on our part. We can’t thank our guinea pigs testers enough.
Our instruction proof has been approved and is now printing. We’re so excited to be one step closer to releasing our pattern. Our next big hurdle is the packaging. More to come…